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Teacher Totally Disenchanted

The more I know,
the less you seem to know.

I used to think you knew everything.
Now I know that you know a few things.
And fake a good many.

Now I know that I could teach you.
Yet I shouldn’t brag – since after all
you were the one who taught me
the foundations which I took off
and overtook you from –

I could’ve kept respecting you
perhaps indefinitely
if you didn’t so insistently
keep claiming to know more than you know
now that I know you do.

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I Shrink Down Next To You

Blanketed by darkness
that nestles itself
around my heart –
probing my brain
with foggy tentacles
for light left –

Leaden arms and legs
that feel unlike my own
and a voice that speaks
through my mouth
though I can’t hear the words
or stop the sound –

Did the world always
turn so slowly?
Was the light always
this dull?
How come you don’t see
the changes
while I shrink down
next to you?

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As the World Forgets My Existence

A scorching summer’s sun
sinking
making way for
pale pink ribbons
flailing
disappearing
into inky bluish black –

We stood here once
your back not turned –

Do you remember
who I am?
Did that memory
fade
or does a trace –
at least –
remain?

A faint ribbon
dancing
vaguely through your brain –
doomed
to fade.

I feel myself fade –
I dissolve
swirling into the pink
vapour
that vanishes
with the sun
as the world
forgets
my existence.

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The Darkness Approaches

The darkness approaches,
I struggle to fight it –
it prods and it pushes –
deny it; deny it!
there’s part of my soul
that it clings onto tightly –
I cannot escape it –
release me; release me!

The sun brings its light with it
back in the Spring,
but it has no power
to scare off the night
that lurks still inside me –
fight it; fight it
with all of the cold
and the darkness of winter.

I may or I may not
be acting like others;
my strife may or may not
be easy to see –
I don’t have the energy
to bother hide it
with all of this turmoil
inside of me.

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The Prospect of Ageing

Time heals,
time mends,
time lets you
comprehend…

That grey hair
wasn’t there
yesterday!

Don’t fight
with nature,
you are it;
ever sure –

Indestructible,
unbreakable –
intertwined with nature
you will endure…

But that wrinkle –
too early…
Isn’t fair!

But YOU, you can relax;
you are not me,
so I am free
to tell you all is well –

I say to you;
embrace the cycles
nature binds us to –

And just ignore me
quietly
dyeing my hair
over here –

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The Restless Wind Rustles the Wheat

The restless wind rustles the wheat
today; sunshine – yesterday; sleet,
a sun that dares to show its face
for once
and deigns to filter through the branches’ lace –

A lazy tune that’s being hummed in vain
with nobody to hear it – save the grain –
a person moving slowly, lazily
for once
and taking in the ambiance and scenery –

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The Known vs. The Felt

I know you’re gone
and I am left alone
to carry on.

But how can you be gone
when you take shape
time and again
within my head?

Do you live on
within the neurons
of my brain?

Do you have shape
that could be seen
on a brain scan?

Did you not die
but simply transition
to another form of life?

A dull response
passed along
the neural networks –
determined to carry on?

I know you’re there
knocking on my skull
from within
time and again –

It’s just that I don’t know
if you are aware
that you’re there
anymore.

And so I’d better try
to let you go
anyway.

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The Poet Takes Pains to Reflect

Grasping at the strings attached to everything in life –
seeking out the meaning wishing that it wouldn’t hide
(or that at least I knew that it existed)
writing down my findings – although I first resisted

The good, the bad in everything –
composed, compressed, compiled –
I smile, I hurt; yet through it all
I only search for words
so that I might recall –

And filed away beneath it all
is the humanity that brought it forth
– against my will, according to my nature –
for what it may be worth

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The Words Don’t Wait

The words don’t come
when I want them to –
they drift through my mind
there, then gone.

I can’t remember them
as soon as they’ve moved on –
a spark of inspiration
there, then gone.

Then one drifts slowly by,
slow enough for me to grasp
and examine, and the words
materialize at last –

and the very first sentence
has made its way to paper
when somebody knocks the door…
And then I stand here later

Looking at that paper –
but the words couldn’t wait,
they’ve moved beyond my reach
and again it is too late.

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The Stranglehold My Soul Has On My Body

The silence that chokes me
is the stranglehold
my soul has on my body –
kept captive and fettered
it smolders inside
it longs to burn through
its containing hide –
It answers my call
that it alone hears
since I can’t make it heard
beyond myself at all –
It burns unsteadily,
colder, then hotter,
dimmer, then brighter
and sooner or later
it will cause me
to burst into flames.
But what might be seen
as the breaking of chains
is really just the end
since the flames cannot burn
without the fuel
my body provides them.

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The Seer – The Seen

She sits alone in darkness
around her there is light
and she hears happy voices
but they are out of sight –

There’s many degrees of darkness,
there’s many shades of shade,
there’s much to be absorbed by
in the absence of the light –

A life in an eternal night –

And she is right beside you
but hidden in the shade
that neither sees the other through –

I see – I see – I see you –
I see you thinking I don’t see,
I see you thinking I miss out
on life –
And yes!, All that I do is see
since that is all I am allowed
but I am not the one who’s
missing out –
I am the only one of us who sees –

“What do you see?”
“I’d rather keep you happy
by not letting it
shine through.”

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The Cure

I am not depressed.
I am realistic.

Your idea of curing me
is to make me sick.

I would rather see the truth
than soak in fake happiness.

I would rather feel pain
than imagine fake joy.

I would rather live
whatever that entails –
I would rather know
than fake beliefs –
I would rather think
than fake agreement –

I am not depressed –
I just have sharper vision than you.

You can’t cure me
since you spread the disease.

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Just a Drop of Water

I am nothing unique, really –
I am a drop of water
in the river of society,
unsatisfied,
unfulfilled,
like any other.

We’re headed somewhere collectively
but that is not a place I wish to see –
the fear is always there;
being hidden in the stream of history,
drowned among the others and forgot
like so many – most –
who lived and shaped our lives today
but still, whose thoughts and names were lost.

I am nothing unique, really –
just another drop of water
that evaporates eventually,
meaningful,
unsuccessful,
like any other.

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On the Nature of Faces

I am what I am
and nothing more
(yet nothing less) –

a faceless voice
praising a world
made out of faces –

always scorned
for things I can’t control,
alter or make undone

but never praised
for those things that I can –
not for a single righted wrong.

The faces of the world
never turn my way –
they do not heed my words.

But I praise myself to say
that I don’t turn from anyone
since I don’t have a face to turn away.

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For All the Flaws of Our Life On Earth

Could I earn a place in Heaven –
by what means
and what might it do to me?
What if I found that once there, then
not only had I ceased to be
but too that Heaven isn’t as it seems?

That is to say, what good is to be had
cut off from everything –
what good to learn when nothing
resembles a chance to ever meet the bad?

For all the flaws of our life on Earth
I must say –
I’d choose this life, right here and now
over a place in Heaven any day.
For all the dreary, and for what it’s worth,
no other place provides a chance for growth.

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Lightblinded

Light creeps in everywhere
to burn away
its detractors –
the shade runs for cover
and I with it –
the day struggles
with the night
and only reluctantly
allows it life –
the day recuperates
to resume the fight –

Too many colours,
too much light –
it drains one’s life
to sustain itself –

No, give me night!
Give me winter’s cold
so that my thoughts can clear –
this light muddles it
and hides the thoughts
that I must want to hear;
the fears, the doubt, the questions
that define me –
this light blinds me
and hides them from me –
Now who am I?

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Reality Check

Liberated consciousness,
self-realization –
not really.
Somehow realizing the “self”
always has consequences
for others –
preventing others
from realizing themselves.

Escape your comfort zone
(to boast about it)
forgetting in your haste
that your comfort zone
does not exist
in a vacuum
but overlaps the comfort zones
of those around you
whom you may not
have consulted
about the escape –

Your dream.
Someone’s nightmare.
What makes you think
your dream
is what’s more real?

Humans are flawed –
more so because they
ignore the real flaws
and invent other –
unimportant –
“flaws” they’d rather improve.

“Move fast and break things.”
Why is it
that I always have the feeling
of trailing behind
the rest of humanity
alone
with a broom –
trying to tidy up
at least an inch-wide path
through the mess
you all leave behind
for future generations
to struggle through
or drown in?

I am Chiron –
I can make you feel better
about yourself
at the cost of myself –

I am Cassandra –
but wise enough to not speak
and only write
since most people
are too lazy to read
and even fewer
intelligent enough
to understand –
whereas if you speak out loud
everybody thinks they understand you
even though the smartest
only scrape the surface
of the words
obscuring meaning –

I am King Midas
(dressed as a woman)
with the exception
that I don’t turn things to gold
but to poetry –
equally impractical
but much less lucrative –

I would much rather be myself
but the rest of humanity
cuts the queue
and butts me out the way
declaring their right
to self-realization –
(it must be a lonely search -)
and I have not the arrogance
of humans
so I stay quiet
and write –

Stay in the heat –
Play the game –
Oh, I’d do it for inspiration!
But only because
your idiosyncrasy
makes for good poetry!

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Does Chaos Count as an Emotion?

Does chaos count as an emotion?
Or is it just another lie
we tell ourselves to hide
the fact of holes in our understanding
of the workings of the mind?

I look at you and all I feel is chaos –
a mingling of what is and was,
what could be had and lost
and what I truly feel hides there behind –
an answer that my mind won’t let me find.

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Light Requires Darkness

I carry with me a darkness
that prevents me from taking flight,
a burden of thoughts that possess
and bars me from the light.

I thought that I should name it
to understand and will it away
but names tend to bind things
and so might make it stay…

Instead I tell myself
and the whole dispassionate world
that light requires darkness
in order to ever unfold.

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I Have No Voice That You Can Hear

I heard your question.
I strove to answer.

The words swelled in my throat,
they got stuck, wiggling their way out,
writhing, tearing at my windpipe –

You just stood there.
You just stared at me.

But the words were there –
it wasn’t for lack of trying –
it’s just that I have no voice
that you can hear.

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On the Verge

I am waiting to disperse,
I’m almost on the verge of dissipating –
let my components find rest
if that’s the only kind of rest to find…
I’m ready to slip past
the past, the present, and into the future,
a future waiting in the dark
in which I may or may not play a part…
I will flit away someday –
I will run with the sun
over this small globe
on light feet, light-headed, freed
from the chains my body imposes
knowing neither joys nor pains –
would that be happiness?
Or would it simply be a change
from one form to another,
yet again, and yet again,
proving once again
all higher thoughts in vain?

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In the MAKING –

The desire to MAKE –
that is the human curse I carry –
the MAKING of art
in a futile attempt to carry
myself into a future
without me –

My hands want creation –
if my mind wants peace
it has come to the wrong place –
this world is ours
for the MAKING –

For those of us who have
sufficiently little of ourselves
to value art
that’s what we MAKE –

For those who live instead
they MAKE themselves
and others in their image –

And we shall MAKE
a world without us
through our restless creation –
a world in our image
as barren as the average mind
that brought it down –

Meanwhile I’ll MAKE
some poetry and hope
some sense might yet be found –

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I Am the Poet of Transience

I am the poet of transience.
I am a voice that shouts unheard into a wall of noise.
I am a light that flares up, indistinguishable in the face of the sun.
I am a leaf that unfolds only to wither.

But then, aren’t we all?

I am the voice of distilled thought and feeling.
I am an experiment of Nature –
I am a being attempting to be more than I am.
I am a longing, aimed at unattainable truth and certainty.

All in all, I am human.

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How I Long To Believe –

How I long to believe in something –
how the world lets me down each time I try –
everything I believe in
seems destined to wither and die –

My heart remains full of visions
as my mind stays full of songs –
but the words die on my lips
when I ponder the past gone wrong.

I admire the certainty heard
in the voices of other people –
so sure of themselves they drown out
my voice; so frail and feeble –

How I long to believe in something –
but life has taught me – and harshly:
no truth stays truthful for long;
there is no such thing as certainty

So I maintain my silent vigil
over dreams buried and gone
and scoff at the people around me
who thinks they are right and I’m wrong

How I wish that I never believed –
that I never allowed hope to stain
my mind with its reveries…
How I wish it hadn’t all been in vain.

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Spring Burst Forth

The Spring announced itself today –
the 3rd of April –
with a flash of light
and an angry roar
it washed the winter off the ground
as it were –

And underneath the winter
suddenly the flowers, tough,
exploded from their hides
announcing: “We have had enough!”,
with birds in happy chorus chanting with them:
“Finally! Now we may live again!”

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The Arrival of Spring

Spring arrived
or so I decided
today.

The dark fog
hovering in my head
I willed away.

At least for now
the sun shines
and the air is clear –

the cold awakens thoughts
and silences
the nightmares –

The snow of yesterday
already melted,
disappeared

it took with it all traces
of our movements there –

the sludge seeps through my shoes,
no longer waterproof.
It’s good,
it helps me stay awake –

I hung away my winter coat
this morning
since I choose
not to allow the winter to go on –

and if the winter disagrees
so be it –
I’d rather catch a cold
than stay inside

My feet are freezing
but it helps me breathe –
it helps maintaining focus,
not to feel

and I will walk today
and stay outside
and try to think

and I won’t sleep until
the thinking
has been done

Spring arrived today
because I need it now –
I cannot wait two weeks
for clarity of mind.

I’ll air out my brain
and will the darkness away
and see what I can find –

perhaps some energy
that I thought lost –

perhaps a way to will away
the nightmares of the past –

perhaps a flower sprouting
in a pool of half-thawed
ice-encrusted mud –

perhaps to catch a cold –
that would be something new to think about –
perhaps I could –

perhaps a beam of sun
that cannot yet be felt –

perhaps a stray thought
that could help me write a poem
again –

perhaps some lungfuls of the air
might help me sleep
a healthy sleep
with no nightmares –

My feet have led me
out into the park
where they sink
into the thawing soil –

the earth seemingly knows
that I need to feel grounded –

With feet like icicles
I proceed
ahead –

the Spring of my making,
right here and now,
a stuttering breath –

an interlude between darkness
and darkness –
light, cold and wet –

alive –

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I Have Not the Arrogance of Humans

I have not the arrogance
of humans –
mine is not the voice
of presumption –
I walk among them
in silence
and they do not sense
my presence –

I have not the bearing
of them –
not their arrogance,
pretense –
not their wild-eyed fury
at ideas
that scatter in the wind
around the bend –

I have not their beliefs
and dreams –
their hopes and fears
and follies –
I won’t purport to understand
their ways.
I understand enough
not to try –

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Thoughts. Slipping.

Early.
Spring.
Fog.
Walking.
Sad.
Tired.
Drops.
Dripping.
Cold.
Thinking.
’bout what?
No knowing.

Tired.
Foggy.
Silhouettes.
Fading.
Distant.
Laughter.
What for?
No knowing.

Isolation.
Distant.
Yearning.
Mind.
Working.
Tired.
Still.
Thinking.
Changing.
Life.
Weather.
Season.
Planning.
What for?
No knowing.

Too early.
Thoughts.
Slipping.

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Early Morning – Fog

Heavy dampness in the air,
whiteness everywhere –
muffled sounds from far away
as morning wakes to day –

Tentative light that tries to poke
its fingers through the fog of sleep –
the war of Spring on Winter
leaves everything to soak
in clouds it dragged down deep –

The sun fights with the whiteness
and wafts it gently by –
yet something still remains
to cloud my mind and eye –

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You Called Me Forth

You called me forth
and I stumbled out
into this light
that blinds me.

“Well, here I am –
what is it that you wanted out of me?
Not what you get?
I see.”

Well, here I stay
mindful of the glares
that no-one dares
aim at my face
directly –

If only they could see my mind –
there’s truths in there they cannot face –

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Brace Yourselves: New Poetry Collection on Monday!

My new poetry collection is finally ready!

Starting Monday the 23rd, ‘Light Requires Darkness’ will come dripping down the pipe one poem a day (a two-month process).

If you feel impatient, a downloadable PDF-file will be made available of the collection as well. You can find this (on Monday) on the ‘Downloads’ page.

Continue reading Brace Yourselves: New Poetry Collection on Monday!

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New Poem: “Present Past”

This new poem is contemplating the history of humanity and how we came to be – and for that reason it has been excluded from my up-coming poetry collection “Light Requires Darkness” as it simply didn’t align with the rest of the content. It is way too philosophical and not nearly personal enough, one might say.

However, despite that, I’d hate letting it go to waste, as I really wrung my brain attempting to write it in the first place. So, here you have it (and the collection will start to follow one poem at a time in the near future).

Continue reading New Poem: “Present Past”

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Plans for the Next 3+ Months

Okay, everybody. I have been working hard on finishing up a lot of things recently – not least of all, the website you’re currently at. Now that I mostly have that out of the way, I can start focusing on making my new poetry (and other writings) available.

Next Up: My Next Poetry Collection

First of all, I have a new poetry collection coming up called “Light Requires Darkness”. All the content is finished, so now I just need to decide in which order I want to present the poems, and to decide on a release date. I can promise you that you will have that before the 1st of July.

Other Writing Projects I Am Wrapping Up

I am working, slowly, on a short story collection with the working title “I MELT”. I would say that I am about 1/3 through, so I can’t say for sure when you will be able to read that – but I am crossing my fingers it will be finished before the 1st of September.

And then there’s the big one: “The Infinite Loop”. It is a novel that I am about half done with. I will have it finished by the end of the year, and I plan to self-publish it as an e-Book. However, if at all possible, I should also like to publish it as a weekly serial on this website. We’ll see. I’ll keep you posted about that. If all goes well, I would like to begin doing that between October and December of this year.

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Edvard Søderberg: Denmark

In Denmark you’ll find house by house,
some thousand small ones on a line,
with reddish roofs and chimney smoke
which smells of dinner time.

Some thousand yards with flowerbeds
where herbs and asters grow –
church towers behind hillsides,
and small sailboats on the fjord.

In Denmark there runs path by path
which meet up with all larger roads;
the skylark sings, the throstle too,
in May so too the cuckoo.

In Denmark whispers the green wood,
and shines the clear, bright sun –
it shines equally on livery
and poor men’s clothes, well worn.

I love these lined-up roofs
and the cabbage patches small,
the whispering forest, the glossy fjord,
the sun that shines on it all.

I love this people, the thousand small,
who in Denmark live and work –
the poor man’s cot at the beaten track
and the fishing boat on the fjord.

The thousands of people who stay and fight
though they win for themselves merely tidbits –
cursed be them who wage war on this people
to break its courage and spirit!

— translated by K-M Skalkenæs, 13/1-2013

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Edvard Søderberg: Death —

In the cold room where the candle
splutters in its stick,
she lies, the dead, thereon the bed
‘tween rags, covered with a sheet.

On the wall her shadow is shifting
fantastically in the gloomy stillness.
– Good, she found peace, good there’s death’s
salvation after life’s wild violence!

Good, she found peace, that this heart
which fought on and on till the end,
this poor heart, which loved and despaired,
that it one day found its end!

Good, that after life’s shame and disgrace,
its black defeats and its red lies,
after all which we come to dream and sin,
there’s a death to close our eyes!

– In the gloomy room, where the shadow shifts,
bend over the table where the candle burns,
a man with silent lips sits still,
his head on his hands he leans.

And he stares silently into the dark,
silent, tearless in the night’s stillness…
– Good, she found peace, good, there’s death’s
salvation after life’s wild violence!

— translated by K-M Skalkenæs, 13/1-2013

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Edvard Søderberg: Down there in the alley —

Down there in the alley life is noisy
and people yell and deal with their affairs –
Here in my wigwam all is peace and quiet,
and everything is how I want it here.

See over rooftops the clear sky –
how blue it arches, calm and clear!
And in the distance behind green woods
it winds around the fields, sincere!

Here fades the sun, the night’s stars shine,
red-golden behind my window the moon arise;
all voices are heard here so distantly
from the jolly masquerade of the masses outside.

And should it be, what easily comes,
that life brings troubles once more –
well, there is advise for all things in this world
and a pawnshop on the ground floor.

And should, one evening when it’s late,
the loneliness feel heavy –
in master Daniel’s basement barroom
the jolly men drink and party.

What more want I? Here in my wigwam
is my quiet, safe harbour-place –
so close to this world’s small affairs
and yet to the stars so highly raised.

— translated by K-M Skalkenæs, 13/1-2013

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Edvard Søderberg: Now it’s quiet in the alley —

Now it’s quiet in the alley,
and the evening noises cease;
the last lamp is turned off
behind the window sheets.

Come, we shall walk together
in this night, the gloomy,
while all other souls rest
and the streets glisten slightly.

I love the stillness of the night,
the stars – pale and gentle;
I love this: to live,
I love this: to strive –

To feel how the heart beats,
to feel how the blood pulses,
to breathe the smell of leafs
and the winds of summer nights!

Despite all which we’ve been through,
despite all which we’ve survived,
despite all hurts which pressed
the tears into our eyes:

How beautiful, how good to live –
to feel the blood that pulses,
to breathe the smell of leaves
and the winds of summer nights!

— translated by K-M Skalkenæs, 13/1-2013

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Edvard Søderberg: The Beduin —

The beduin pulls his tentpole
out of the sand and sharpens his sword;
then he travels through the desert
under the night stars’ glow.

He’s bored by the whispers of palm trees,
of the homely dishes the sight –
but out there he eyed the eagle
tighten its wings for flight.

Out there sound the songs,
and the sky is ablaze.
Then he travels ahead to the distant,
sun-red fairytale place.

And the caravan of the traders,
which rocks ahead, slow and late,
through the desert, stops recognize
the whitened bones of his fate.

I too am like the beduin
without a place to remain;
I love the unexplored paths
and the night-time’s loneliness.

I follow neither people nor flag,
I suffer no mark or shield;
never did I fight in ranks
and never I fought afield.

The salesman strokes behind counters
his mammon and drinks his wine
and judges with gentile gazes
the poor beduin.

– He uses his chalk and his pen,
the poor and pitiful man,
who never for one hour longed
for the sun-red fairy-land…

— translated by K-M Skalkenæs, 13/1-2013

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Edvard Søderberg: A crooked fence —

A crooked fence which wavers;
a glow of sun in green windows;
some worn-out clothes hung out to dry;
a soot-covered wall; a tree that bows –

On the stairs a girl, a beauty
from the streets, in skirt and veil,
a wagon rumbling distantly; a voice
that soothes a child who wails.

Indeed, I know this picture,
I memorize it, dreaming and awake:
the gloomy nooks and creepy gates
where trolls would hide and lurk.

This adventure-land where strange
and wondrous beings as well as dark,
mysterious and strange shadows lurked
and crept behind all sheds and gates.

Where in the darkness it laughed and whispered
with strangely quiet voices,
with evil eyes that alertly gazed
through all the gratings and doors.

Where the knights and dames of the street
and folks from all the world’s corners
partied heartily and happily
with liqueur and musicians.

– Indeed, I know this picture,
the hopeless elend’s kingdom; –
it hits me with a secret fear
and darkens all my visions…

— translated by K-M Skalkenæs, 13/1-2013

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Edvard Søderberg: It darkens in the alley now —

It darkens in the alley now,
the evening birds they flit
along the tiles and touch
with a smile my sweater’s sleeve

Her there, the little dark one,
whose laughter now we hear,
now she comes towards us!
Look how herself she bears.

The jacket tight in the waist,
and the hair curls on the brow –
What want you? Wait, it seems…
Did we not meet before?

Indeed, it is those looks
that cheeky laught which me greet;
it is the same brown locks,
and the same lips, the red.

Oh, we have dreamt and loved
and caressed lengthily…
Now she walks here in the street
and sells herself for money.

It darkens, the day bends,
the birds of the evening flit.
My cup was drained to the dregs,
now it’s been re-filled – with filth…

— translated by K-M SKalkenæs, 13/1-2013

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Edvard Søderberg: Here, in this silent alley…

Here in this silent alley,
with the shine of many windows,
where behind tiles and blackened roofs
the night sky’s violet glows –

Here, when the day is past
I wander in the hours of dusk,
knows all again and longs
towards a time that’s lost.

Oh, I love these hovels,
chalked and grey and blackish,
these crooked, reddish walls,
these deep and creepy gates –

Love this gloomy alley,
the distant golden heaven,
the stars behind the rooftops,
the street and the buzz thereon –

These men and these women,
these drunks and beggars;
the wild birds of the lamplight,
these madams and these players.

And I wander in this alley
listening to the evening sounds:
screams and fighting, women’s voices,
children’s cries and drinking songs.

Oh, I recognize these voices,
know them from past times;
strangel they sound in the darkness,
a wild, confused complaint that climbs.

Now defiant, now in pain,
it never stills, just like the sea –
it’s the resonance of the depths,
it is the street’s poetry…

— translated by K-M Skalkenæs, 13/1-2013

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Edith Södergran: Various Observations

One shouldn’t say: The All – for how can one in a single word sum up that which has no extent.

The free will is an absurd assumption, something which operates independently and on its own in an abstract room of thoughts.

The great shape-creating fantasy is an unreleased spirit, unless it is freed through painting.

The last and highest refinement of vanity is the end of all vanity, like a woman who most safely plays with a man she doesn’t need.

Open-mindedness is security in dealing with things.

There is something unsavoury about harming one’s own life.

The good ought to know how to neutralize his damaging effort through hardness.

It is among the most normal things in this, the world of vague concepts, to fight that which one doesn’t contain.

A high intelligence gives to the face something rich and mature, it is as if the fatness of the spirit rises to the face, the obesity of Minerva.

The evil are most often strong organisms, who feel restricted in their displays of temper. That the evil suffer the most isn’t true, their suffering isn’t deep, it is for them a somewhat comfortable habit.

Now the bell of patriotism hangs around the necks of everyday people as if it was their own.

Gösta Berling can manage by herself faced with a very spoiled teacher, who of his own insides is given the most exquisite spice; a centaur is then created.

The people of the great prosperity are realists and fatalists.

The task of the people-improver is not to preach moral, but to change the insides of people by changing the outer conditions for the moral health of humanity.

Moral begins where it ought to end, that is, by giving the one who longs for perfection a hint.

So far, everything has happened to individuals, the religions have, strictly speaking, only come to individuals. Now we can begin to sense the times where the mass must be influenced.

Small people are quite sensual in their way, in a jolly way that a great temper can’t stand.

One thing we have above all others – ourselves.

The most genuine ones are the ones that are the most cooperative, and the least cooperative.

All long roots of truth are suspicious, you only find truth in short, broken pieces.

Our weakness when we defend or attack always lies in the fear of failure which forces us to hasten, when it is sufficient to carelessly sprinkle a few destroyed suspicions.

One never gives up one’s inner faith – that would be one’s doom.

One doesn’t have enough character to forbid the highest expressions of the human spirit – detours are scholars, reporters etc. who make everything harmless.

We notice first the roughest part of truth, truth in itself, the most important thing – the speaker – we notice much later.

That life surrounds is and that we don’t have time for it heightens its temptations in a refined way, just like Heaven for religious people heightens the temptations of Earth.

The emptiness of life, which for people at the present time seem cloister-like, has caused a craving for amusement, the flesh that thinks itself overlooked demands its right. It would amuse a Mephistopheles to lead the headless, hunting mass off the thin ice – just once hand it the cup of complete pleasure.

If genius people wearing puritan blinders get to see the truth, they become incredibly inventive whilst trying to explain it away.

A non-religious person by nature always sympathizes a bit with Mephistopheles concerning the angelic chorus.

Religion can, through misunderstanding, become a source of culture when the religious people deaden themselves to worldly art and science, and avoid the genius influences they need.

It is so strange, the art of the aphorisms: the play with contrasts is lousy as a word pun, the truth often limited, and yet it is the attire of truth which is weaved, the truth raised above all else.

To say that one loves people is hysteria, to say one doesn’t love them is weakness – to have power to make them what they ought to be is the only right thing.

The one who isn’t yet mild himself longs more for the victory of mildness, like after something whose victory he is uncertain of and which has many enemies in himself.

The small ones are naïve and literal in their virtues, perhaps because virtue is so new to them.

A thinker of greater genius than has so far existed, would have need for fewer words than philosophers have so far used. In the future one will do a heavier and quantitatively lesser work.

Mild insomnia increases genius.

The lavishness of the proletariat is a weak life force. The proletariat is an atom of growth which the Earth asks: why do you plunder me still? The Earth loves plants who suck with deep roots.

Nobody is the master of their own star, they’re forced to follow it.

The adversary is something you get in a marriage you’ve always deserved.

If you want people to achieve something great it is less dangerous to overestimate some than to underestimate them.

The sleepwalker heads for the lottery to cash in the grand prize.

When one’s own intellect has risen high, every intellect seems distinguished whether it belongs to a human or an insect, one’s eyes are opened to the demonical of the being of intelligence entirely.

The most detestable is shown to you when something high is defiled. On such an event it once showed itself to me in dreams: I saw evil women drown little children in wooden tubs, I saw executions everywhere on the beach and ships, human hands and tree branches defiled with blood and brain material, everything so raw and detestable like you never see it in reality, but only in the enlarging mirror which an insulted, wondrous sensibility owns.

The conscious virtue, the virtue spoken of, doesn’t start till the development of the intellect. Before this everything is animalistic coincidence.

The truly declassed and outcast among people are those who have committed a mean action.

A true art critic would be a person who was able to understand the inner laws of the different art forms and art characters.

The highest we can see lies beyond evil and good, ugly and beautiful, there the highest the human spirit has created becomes small, narrow and way too human, there the things speak, future art is comical.

Nietzsche’s strength shouldn’t be sought in the strength of his voice but in the greatness streaming from his greatest experience – the eternal return.

Should every great person not, besides everything else, also have his own great fear as a certain focal point in life?

The critic is usually a person who talks for so long about a book that nobody any longer knows what it’s worth. If the criticism is to achieve its goal, the critic should decidedly, without leaving any room for doubt, say honestly what a book is. Books need trademarks, same as all other goods.

The one who has power over hearts should treat them as something holy.

The feeling of guilt is always a sure sign of a weak character, the factual guilt remains a question mark.

Most people perish because they search for something shiny and neglect the necessary. We all resemble magpies and pickerels, we grasp for what’s shiny – each in our own way.

Where the spirit is suppressed the flesh groans.

It is necessary learning to pack one’s intellectual baggage to see how elegant, well ordered and light one’s baggage is.

The greatest merit of the woman is that she has so far not provided for herself much intellectually.

Danger and uncertainty are the right elements of carefreeness, whereas civilized life is heavy to carry.

There comes a time when one tells oneself: my thoughts no longer belong to me alone, and then one devotes one’s entire life to others.

There are people to whom everything comes, and others who have the privilege of approaching everything themselves.

The three greatest gifts of life: poverty, loneliness, suffering, only the sage values according to their actual great value.

Poems about the cosmos could be but a whisper.

Does something more marvelous exist than the cheeky, divine fairytale-like force of Napoleon?

A real man needs no name, he comes, sees and wins.

What we need right now is the naughtiest person who ever answered the name of Napoleon.

The one who isn’t a man of actions says that the masses smell bad, but Napoleon has no nose and the waves carry him.

Every time a narrow feeling envelops you, you must transform it into a vast one.

Where beauty is missing, all graces take each other by the hands and flee. Then justice takes the place of love, and duty the place of royal inclinations.

It is not necessary to pray, you just look up at the stars and get the feeling of falling to the ground in wordless worship.

The great innate outer elegance, which is as rare as great physical beauty, is accompanied by an inner gentility, a delicacy in every action and movement! These people feel themselves as rulers and are also recognized as such by others.

A humanity as pure as flowers is the ideal of the future.

One doesn’t ask whether God exists or not, one simply puts one’s small intelligence aside.

The prejudice against God is the one that is the most difficult to overcome.

The houses we live in are ancient huts in comparison with the idea of a human dwelling which we carry within ourselves.

— translated by K-M Skalkenæs, December 2012

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Edith Södergran: Thoughts on Nature

Life and death we see with our eyes, they’re sun and moon.

Through the All run the sun’s life-giving, the moon’s killing and the globes subjected to life and death.

Around all the diseased the moon spins its net, until the Full Moon comes a beautiful night to fetch it.

Dying natural children love death, they long for the moment the moon takes them.

Nature is used to death, it experiences it every night. It submits itself with equal ease to the enchantments of the sun and of the moon.

Death is a sweet poison – rot, but there is nothing unhealthy about death. Nature is health itself and considers death every bit as healthy as life.

In rot lies the highest beauty and the Devil is God’s highest goodness. Admirable is the rapid work of destruction in the autumn.

Nature is under God’s protection. The Devil has no power over nature. Nature is God’s beloved.

If we don’t become natural children, we don’t get to go to Heaven. For the religious, secrets are secrets about nature. They don’t thrive in Jewish temples, but they got along fine with the unknowing child who understood the lilies of Saron.

Nature’s way to God is the direct, eternal and objective, without outer chance.

The human heart seeking God must fight the subjectivity, for the heart begins beyond subjectivity.
But Nature’s way is protected.

— translated by K-M SKalkenæs, December 2012

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Edith Södergran: The Land Which Is Not

For a more consistent reading experience; visit this collection at ScandiPoetry.com which is another website run by me and explicitly dedicated to my translations of Gustaf Munch-Petersen and Edith Södergran.

‘The Land Which Is Not’ was a work in progress at the time of Södergran’s death in 1923 and was published posthumously in 1925 – therefore it is shorter and more fragmented than the other collections. Some of the poems in this collection were written as early as 1916 while others were written very shortly before her death. They have been arranged in chronological order.

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Edith Södergran: The Rose Altar

For a more consistent reading experience; visit this collection at ScandiPoetry.com which is another website run by me and explicitly dedicated to my translations of Gustaf Munch-Petersen and Edith Södergran.

Most of the poems in the collection were written within a year – between Summer 1918 and Spring 1919. A few of them were intended to be published with her previous collection ‘The September Lyre’, but were refused inclusion there.

While the topic of this collection is similar to the last, its tone is warmer and less tense.

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Edith Södergran: The September Lyre

For a more consistent reading experience; visit this collection at ScandiPoetry.com which is another website run by me and explicitly dedicated to my translations of Gustaf Munch-Petersen and Edith Södergran.

This, contrary to Södergran’s first collection, was published upon demand in 1918.

The main topic of this collection was her self-perception, coming to term with her illness as well as herself as a literary figure.

Moreover, this is the collection where it was first becoming obvious that she counted Nietzsche among her influencers.

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Edith Södergran: Poems

For a more consistent reading experience; visit this collection at ScandiPoetry.com which is another website run by me and explicitly dedicated to my translations of Gustaf Munch-Petersen and Edith Södergran.

This was Södergran’s literary debut. Published just in time for Christmas 1916 (on the condition that the publisher couldn’t guarantee her any payment) the primary topic is the change in the perception of women that was characteristic at the time.

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Gustaf Munch-Petersen: Nineteen Poems

For a more consistent reading experience; visit this collection at ScandiPoetry.com which is another website run by me and explicitly dedicated to my translations of Gustaf Munch-Petersen and Edith Södergran.

‘Nineteen Poems’ was the last collection Gustaf Munch-Petersen wrote before he left home to fight in the Spanish Civil War. It came after a hiatus from writing sparked, presumably, by the lack of interest in his previous collections.

‘Nineteen Poems’ marks a shift in direction from his deep-dive into surrealism, to a sober, modernist and minimalist observation. The name itself indicates the shift. ‘Nineteen Poems’ is exactly what it claims to be: a mature, sober poetry collection consisting of nineteen poems.

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Gustaf Munch-Petersen: Towards Jerusalem

For a more consistent reading experience; visit this collection at ScandiPoetry.com which is another website run by me and explicitly dedicated to my translations of Gustaf Munch-Petersen and Edith Södergran.

Known as “the strangest poetry collection in Danish literature”, this is the climax of Munch-Petersen’s surrealism. This is where the poet took his experimentation to the limits, and was discarded by the critics in the process.

Where content is concerned, there’s stille the same yearning for the Utopia of ‘The Lowest Country’. The Utopia, he felt, would have to be realized through the brother-/sister-hood he observed among the lower strata of society.

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Gustaf Munch-Petersen: The Lowest Country

For a more consistent reading experience; visit this collection at ScandiPoetry.com which is another website run by me and explicitly dedicated to my translations of Gustaf Munch-Petersen and Edith Södergran.

This collections has come to be the most famous (or infamous) of Munch-Petersen*s production.

The young man of the first collection (‘naked human’) has found his mission in life: To free humanity and lead them to ‘the lowest country’, in effect a Utopia.

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Gustaf Munch-Petersen: naked human

For a more consistent reading experience; visit this collection at ScandiPoetry.com which is another website run by me and explicitly dedicated to my translations of Gustaf Munch-Petersen and Edith Södergran.

Just twenty years old at the time it was published, Munch-Petersen had even written some of these poems while still attending high school.

The collection enjoyed moderate success although critics at the time were outraged by his complete disregard for grammar and punctuation – one might say, in hindsight, that he was simply too far ahead of his time for the literary establishment of the day.

The collection describes a young man (the author himself) who is in effect a rebel without a cause. He wants to change something but is not yet entirely aware of what that might be. The passion, however, is undeniable.

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Paraphrase over Novalis: ‘An Jeanette’

English

Just take my books – my rhymes –
my home if you should want it.
Just take my sleep and dreams as well
so as easier to haunt it.

Should anything be left behind –
some bit of mind or faith and vows;
just have it. What more could you want
my love; my heart has long been yours.

Danish

Tag du mine bøger – mine rim –
mit hjem endda hvis det er hvad du vil,
og tag min søvn og mine drømmes spind
så de fra nu af hører kun dig til.

Og skulle noget stadig stå tilbage –
en rest af håb og tro – som stadig mit;
så tag det? Ønsker du dig stadig mere?
Min elskede; mit hjerte er dog allerede dit!

— paraphrased by K-M Skalkenæs, 12/12-2016

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Friedrich Rückert: Kindertotenlieder

You are a shadow at day
and in the night a light;
you live in my laments
and in my heart survive.

Where I should pitch my tent,
you live there with me tight;
You are a shadow at day
and in the night a light.

And anywhere I ask of you
I hear about your life,
you live in my laments
and in my heart survive.

You are a shadow at day,
yet in the night a light;
you live in my laments
and in my heart survive.

— translated by K-M Skalkenæs, January 2014
Note: I couldn’t bring myself to translate the title, since nothing worked quite as strongly in English as the original German.

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Goethe: To the Absent One

So I’ve truly lost you, dear one?
Have you truly from me flown?
In my accustomed ears still sound
your every word, its every tone.

Alike the wanderer in the morning
who vainly gazes skywards,
when in the vast blue realm, hiding,
he hears the singing of the lark:

Such wanders here and there, restless,
my gaze across the land;
to you sounds all my songs, my dearest;
please come back to me again!

— translated by K-M Skalkenæs, 31/1-2013

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Goethe: Near the Beloved

I think of you, when the sunlight’s glitter
shines on the sea;
I think of you, when I the moonlight’s glimmer
in twilight see.

I see you there, when on the distant roads
the dust arise;
In deepest night, when on the bridges narrow
the wanderer cries.

And too I hear you, when the wave cries out,
roaring violent;
in silent woods I listening walked about
when all was silent.

I am with you, however far you seem.
You’re near to me!
The sun sinks, soon the stars will gleam.
Were you with me!

— translated by K-M Skalkenæs, 29/1-2013

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Goethe: First Loss

Oh! who brings the lovely days,
those days of my first love,
Oh! who can bring, an hour only
to me of that precious time!

I now nurture my wounds lonely,
lament in continuous days,
dreams of the lost joys sublime.

Oh! who can bring those lovely days,
bring back that precious time!

— translated by K-M Skalkenæs, 16/3-2013

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Goethe: Blessed Longing

Tell no-one, except the Sages,
for the Mass will scorn my song,
among the living I shall praise
the one who for fire-death long.

In the coolness of the love-nights,
which begat what you begot,
you’re overcome with foreign feelings
when the candle-lights burn hot.

You’re no longer kept imprisoned
by this life-times gloomy shadows,
in you rise a newborn vision;
mating of a higher sort.

No difficulty lies in distance,
now you’re soaring spell-bound,
and in the end, the light desiring
you will, butterfly, be burned.

And as long as you have not
this tried: To die and be!
you will be on this dark Earth
a gloomy guest only.

— translated by K-M Skalkenæs, 31/1-2012

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Evening Prayers – translated from Danish

770. Tired, Now I Go To Bed

Tired, now I go to bed,
resting on the pillow my head;
Father, look with endless love
down to my bed from above!

Dear God, if I have today
against your commandments strayed,
be then gracious, be then good,
erase it with Jesus’ blood!

Look to us, oh Lord, be kind,
look to us, who share one mind,
place then your angelic host
around the world from coast to coast!

Those who’s sick at heart, stand by,
close then every tired eye,
give us all then restful peace
through our faith in Jesus Christ.

— Translated by K-M Skalkenæs, 24/4-2012
Original: Luise Hensel 1817, Kristian Arentzen 1846.

 

789. Now Closes Fast My Eye

Now closes fast my eye,
God, Father in the high,
protect me in my sleep!
Through sorrow, sin and dangers
your angel with me lingers
who guides my feet and does me keep.

— Translated by K-M Skalkenæs, 24/5-2012
Original: Peter Foersom 1813.

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Danish Folk Song: In the Woodland’s Depth and Quietness

In the woodland’s depth and quietness
where armies of singers rest,
where the soul have listened often-long
to the birds and their happy song.
There is such idyllic peacefulness
in the woodland’s loneliness,
and the longings of the heart end here
where peace and rest are near.

Hear the village bell begins to toll,
announcing the evening’s fall.
Little mockingbirds before their rest
still twitter a little bit.
In the marsh the loud quark of a frog,
now steams the field and bog.
With the bell’s silencing, evening brings
its peace as it slowly sinks.

— translated by K-M Skalkenæs, 14/5-2013

Original: I skovens dybe stille ro
Text by: Fritz Andersen, 1864

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Hermann Hesse: In Darkness

Strange in darkness to wander!
Lonely is every bush and stone,
no tree sees another,
every one’s alone.

My world was full of friendships
back when my life was light,
now that the darkness sets
there’s no-one left in sight.

Truly wise is no-one
who doesn’t know by heart
the unavoidable gloom
that quietly sets him apart.

Strange in darkness to wander!
Life is to be alone.
No person knows another,
every one’s alone.

— translated by K-M Skalkenæs, 17/1-2014

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Theodor Storm: The Town

At greyish beach, by greyish sea
and off track lies the town;
the darkness press roofs heavily
and through the silence roars the sea
monotone through the town.

Here sighs no wood, nor sings nearby
the birds in month of May;
the wandering geese with their sharp cry
alone in harvest nights pass by,
on the beach grasses sway.

Still clings all of my heart to you,
you grey town by the sea;
the youthful magic through and through
rests smilingly on you, on you,
you grey town by the sea.

— Translated by K-M Skalkenæs, 14/12-2012

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Poetry Translations Nearly Ready

Hey all. I want to start by apologizing for the delay – I did mean to include my poetry translations earlier in the process, but I haven’t had the time to update the page before.

I am happy to announce that you can expect them ready within a few days – especially as I can see that quite a few of you have been searching for them.

Continue reading Poetry Translations Nearly Ready

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An Update on My Progress

Poems, poems everywhere!

So, this is just an update on how far I’ve gotten with the site, right? I spent the whole day yesterday editing texts and uploading them. Adding images. Writing info text. You name it. And the day before yesterday as well. So, I have most of the content up now, and I merely need to do something about the layout in order for the site to be fully functional.

Where Do We Go From Here?

The only things missing as of now are those poems / short stories / essays I keep as drafts because I need to re-read and edit them before they go live. Also, a bunch of internal links and some images would help.

Now, seeing as tomorrow is Monday and I also have a job to do, I can’t guarantee you anything about the finishing date – but I am continuously working on the site, and will keep you posted when something new happens.

 

 

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These Are Just My Thoughts

I don’t claim to have all the answers
these are just my thoughts;
disorganized and fragmented
as they come.
A relentless stream that varies
from gibberish to genius.
But however smart they sound
at least at times
I do not claim to know the “truth” about anything
because “truth” is such a limiting concept.
It isn’t constant –
it changes based on point of view,
it changes over time,
it changes depending on who tells the story
and how they tell it.
It’s simply too confusing for me
to deal with.
So I don’t.
What do I do then?
I ask a ridiculous amount of questions
and let them speak for themselves.

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There’s a Tree Left Behind in the Rubble Piles

There’s a tree left behind
in the rubble piles –
its branches wind upwards
among the bricks and tiles.

I remember it clearly
from childhood days
where it stood so proudly
during breaks

right in the centre
of the playground –
brooding quietly,
steady and strong

and now it still stands
when all else is gone.
Humans come and go
but Nature carries on.

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One Could Write of the Future

One could write of the future.
It’s just so hard.
Because you then accept in advance
that everything you write
has a built-in expiration date.
Since the date of your choice one day
will no longer be in the future.

One could also write of the past.
That’s even harder.
How much hasn’t been forgotten or altered
and how much isn’t altered
further
with every weighted word
written or spoken of times we haven’t lived through
and therefore don’t understand.

One could also write of the present.
But what is the present?
Isn’t it past already
once the reader picks up your book?
And how much do we actually notice
while it happens
rather than through
later reflections?

One could also just stop caring
about time.
Just write the time off.
Literally.
It passes anyway
no matter what.

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How About Writing About Something I Know?

How about writing about something I know?
Something I care about?
How about not caring in advance whether the reader understands
or wants to understand
or whether or not it even matters?
How about settling for the idea
that everything matters
and that if I write about something that is
meaningful to me, heartfelt and genuine
that will shine through
and make every word count all the more?
What if I’m wrong…?
But what if I’m right!

How about writing about Lolland.
That’s the island I come from.
Why have I never written about it before?
Well, I have,
but never mentioned the name.
What if giving it its proper name
alienates certain readers
or makes the text less universal
(as if a text ever can be universal)
or makes it more difficult to relate to
or something like that?
But what if it doesn’t!

What if you try to write something universal
and end up with something insipid and vague
that nobody could possibly care for.
Why not write something personal?
Why not write of my home?
As if other people don’t have a home
and wouldn’t understand what it feels like
to long back to it.

Why even pretend that there is a difference
between the personal and the universal –

I want to write about Lolland.
It is an island in the south of Denmark.
It has 60.000 inhabitants.
It is very flat and fertile.

It is my home.

I don’t live there.
I haven’t lived there for ten years now.
It changes nothing.

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The Stone Circle In Progress

The stone circle in progress
hums quietly to you
as hills through the mist
drift back into view.

The faces on the stones
observe you quietly
as you bravely traverse
this piece of history.

The peat bog winks you closer
with blinking, dim blue light;
the vapour trails that linger
will not be swept aside.

The peaceful hills at rest
protect our ancestors –
guarding the few remains
that’s all they left for us.

Look not to these round hills
for peace or solace – ever –
look, touch, observe – then pass –
but they remain forever.

The hill where nothing lives
broods over its past
by the beach without waves;
silence at last.

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I Want to Write About Lolland

I want to write something beautiful.
I want to write something meaningful.
And perhaps that’s the entire problem.
Perhaps that’s why I never get to write
nearly as much as I think about writing.
Reality is just not that pretty.
And why write something
that doesn’t either reflect reality
or could become reality?

Perhaps keeping it real isn’t as boring as I used to think –
perhaps it’s the only way to get to say something
that is truly worthwhile
and could possibly stand the test of time.

I want to write about Lolland
because that’s where my heart is on most days.
Not about the beaches,
the dikes and the hills
or the lakes and the fjords.
Not per se at least.
But about the feeling of complete disconnect
from the rest of the world
caused by intense connection
with one single place
that assaults me
whenever I go there.

I will not use the phrase “go home”
because that’s too emotional
even for me.
I “go there” every once in awhile
to visit my family
and breathe that air
and walk that earth
for no particular reason.
At least no logical reason.
And so I cannot really describe it
because my mind is so
terribly logical
that it wants a logical reason
and balks at the lack of one.

I just “go there”, ok?

Every once in awhile
drawn
beyond reason.

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There’s Mist In the Valleys Between the Hills

There’s mist in the valleys
between the hills
and the sunset
sets it on fire.

There’s foam on the waves
rolling ashore
and breaking over
the pier.

There’s hazy birdsong
drifting down
towards us on the breeze.

There’s less than an hour
to a city
if you cannot handle such peace.

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I Want To Believe

I want to believe
that I could create something
that could last beyond my years.
I know however
how unlikely
that would be.

I “go there” every once in awhile
and the streets remain the same
but the houses change
or disappear entirely
and people come and go,
locations change names –
the only constant there is
that I can always find
is the brooding barrows,
ruins, stones
that reminisce a past
we don’t even remember;
something gone,
something didn’t last
again.
And here I am,
presumptuously,
whining about the human want
to last – and last – and last –
to leave a mark,
to make a mark,
to be remembered…
As if it matters in the long run
who reads me once I’m gone.

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The Apparitions Came For Me Again

The apparitions came for me again,
the ghastly, ghostly figures
came at dawn –
why now,
I do not have the time to think,
reflect,
certainly not to mourn
a time that passed
and by and large
before I myself was born.

But on the remnant wisps of dream
they flutter by
and powerless to wake I’m forced to see
time slipping backwards,
ruins rebuilding themselves
while people shrink and disappear
and others wake from sleep.

Eventually the clock resumes its ticking –
the one that stopped –
not that it even matters,
as life itself is unwearied
by the ticking of a clock
and our thoughts of passing –
we are just like the weather,
shifting, changing,
here and there
we come and pass;
what matters is the climate
and that
(sadly for us)
takes longer to assess –

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Two O’Clock At Night

Two o’clock at night;
got up
and lit the lamp –
how long did I sleep,
how long been awake?
Darkness presses down,
the lamp struggles
sympathetically helpful
to keep it at bay.

I walked through
a large and cold house;
foreign, familiar –
past or future.
Someone’s death had caused
my presence there –
I went around and searched
for something; who knows what.
My head drummed with poetry
all starting with the line:
“What has happened?”

I moved some furniture around
and then some more.
I turned my back to hear
them relocate themselves.
All that I touched,
all that I moved
remained in place a second
and then returned
to where I moved it from –
nothing could disturb
their languid movements.

And two o’clock at night
I finally woke
completely exhausted
from all that work.
Now I wander aimlessly
about my flat
touching everything
to make sure
that it seems real.

I tell myself
a dream was all it was,
and you can just let it slip by.
But in my heart
I know that is a lie.

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Standing There Alone

Standing there alone
wondering
who those people are
and what they think.
Milling around me,
talking,
but the words do not
make sense.
It’s endless humming
without meaning,
and it tires me out.

From a distance
every word
sounds like a buzz
and people lose
their eyes.
Everybody looks the same
and sounds the same
and move around the same way,
and I laugh
at their concept
of individuality.

I won’t purport to know them
based on having met
or talked with them before –
there is no point,
no purpose
and no plan.

It takes so long
to get to know somebody –
it takes so much work.
You have to see them
in so many situations,
assess their feelings
and thoughts –
and, let’s be honest:
None of you
care for that much work.

So I will not approach you,
just observe
and think.
And write, perhaps,
and maybe,
if the need should strike me,
drink…

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Travelling Alone

“How good for you, to travel alone,
it’s so empowering!”
“A modern woman shouldn’t wait for anyone;
run your own show, do your own thing!”
“I’m so impressed that you went all on your own!”

I know there is no point in exclamations,
in corrections,
protestations…
Technically they are just trying
to compliment me.
But why is it that they can’t see
the errors that they make?
As if I would have travelled
all alone
if that wasn’t the only path to take?

I didn’t go to prove myself,
to “grow” or show the world
what an empowered woman I am –
I went alone because
I have no-one with whom
I could’ve shared my travel plan.

What is it that’s supposed to be
so great
about standing alone in a foreign city
taking pictures of oneself?
As if I wouldn’t rather
have had someone
to share the experience with.

Yeah, sure, I got to spend a whole day
in an art museum
with nobody to complain –
you know what’s sometimes said of art?
That it’s a substitute for love,
and only truly thrives
when needed
as an outlet for emotions.

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It’s Not That I Don’t Care

It’s not that I don’t care
it’s that I do not have the energy
to respond
that which you want to hear.

It’s not that I don’t see
it’s that I see too much
of then and now
and what will fail to be.

It’s not that I don’t hear
it’s that there is no point in saying
anything
since you won’t really hear.

It’s just the way I feel
and nothing you can do or say
will make your words
seem true, or even real.

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Words

Words are empty shells –
worthless to describe a world
that falls through our hands
like grains of sand.

If you try to define
your stars and how you see them shine
your words will kill the wonder
and leave emptiness behind.

So say no more to me –
no more empty words –
much more can be contained
in vision, touch and scent.

Speak not – silence heals
words cause numbness – nothing else
avoid word’s lure and sense
the silence – how it mends.

(written when I was 18)

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And So He Died

And so he died
who, having lived so long,
had buried so many others
and never cried.

And so we stood there
powerless for words.
A person lost, indeed,
but memories and stories
so much more importantly
that day as well were buried.

And so we wept – some of us –
puny humans with no powers
to stop this erosion
of collective memory –

And so we buried him
who had outlived so many
but who was recalled in the end
all the same.

He never told us of his thoughts
so they have all been lost.